Jo Konta holds her nerve to battle past Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic in final-set tie-break as she joins fellow Brit Katie Boulter in round two in Melbourne
- Jo Konta overcame Ajla Tomljanovic in round one of the Australian Open
- Konta beat the Aussie No 3 to become the second British woman into round two
- The British No 1 won the opening set 7-4 in a tie-break before losing the next 6-2
- A gruelling third set went with serve until Konta took it 10-7 in a tense breaker
On Monday Katie Boulter became the first player in Australian Open history to win an elongated sudden death tie-break, and Jo Konta followed her in doing exactly the same thing to make the second round.
The British No 1 carved out a gutsy 7-6, 2-6, 7-6 win over Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic when she came through a nerve-shredding shootout 10-7.
Unlike with Boulter, there was no confusion in this match about it finishing under the new format adopted this year.
Jo Konta (pictured) beat Ajla Tomljanovic in round one of the Australian Open on Tuesday
Konta screamed in delight after securing a difficult win against her well-supported opponent
Tomljanovic battled hard but lost in three sets, two of which were decided by tie-breakers
Former semi-finalist Konta looked determined as she celebrated winning a point on Court 3
Konta stretches to hit a forehand in Tuesday’s first round match at the 2019 Australian Open
British No 1 Konta served eight aces during the opening set which she won on a tie-break
Konta began the tie-break attempting several dropshots that backfired and saw a 2-0 lead become 2-4. But having got back to 7-7 she then reeled off the last three points, sealing victory with a cross court forehand winner.
While not reaching her levels of a two years ago this will be a morale-boosting win for Konta, who must now face Garbine Muguruza after the former Wimbledon champion beat China’s Saisai Zheng 6-2, 6-3. Konta is the third GB player into the singles second round after Boulter and Dan Evans.
This tournament has historically been a good one for Konta, having made the quarters and semi-finals before, and she was desperate to make another run to kickstart her year.
Konta, 27, took a sip from her water bottle amid 32-degree head in Melbourne on Tuesday
The heat tested both players and Konta was seen wiping sweat from her face between points
Twenty-five-year-old Tomljanovic used a cold towel to cool down between points in Melbourne
Konta also placed a white towel around her neck under the baking sun above Melbourne Park
The match between Konta and Australian Tomljanovic attracted a large crowd on Court 3
Facing the world No 47, who is also the longstanding girlfriend Nick Kyrgios, Konta got off to a poor start, going 3-0 down before breaking back and taking the first set to a tie-break.
That was tight as well, but the British No 1 opened up an advantage when on 5-4 she hit a rasping cross court backhand to create a set point, which was immediately converted.
Konta got into trouble in the second set by making a horrendous hash of a putaway volley to be broken for 2-4. She could have broken back for 3-4 from 15-40 but was held off and the rangy Australian levelled the match.
The British player made her life more difficult by only converting one of nine break points but is in the second round after battling hard for two hours and 51 minutes.
Aussie Tomljanovic, who was cheered on by a partisan home crowd, took aim at a backhand
Australian No 3 Tomljanovic showed her frustration during a difficult first set against Konta
At one point Tomljanovic rested on her racket as she leaned forward and looked exhausted
But Tomljanovic roared with delight as she stormed back into the match during the second set
Konta was outplayed in set two and left court for a lengthy comfort break before the decider
The final set went with serve meaning another tie-break was needed and Konta prevailed 10-7
Konta looked tired after winning to set up a match against Garbine Muguruza
The Brit waved to her supporters in the crowd after completing a tough 7-6, 2-6, 10-7 victory
Konta said: ‘I didn’t get to win as many of these matches last year, it’s only the third tournament of the year so there’s a lot of tennis to play and hopefully I can win a lot of these this season.
‘I think overall I’m just very happy to have been able to stay there with her when she was playing well but also play tennis on my terms as well, which was important for me to learn from especially after the last time we played a couple of weeks ago in Brisbane.
‘So I thought I did a good job of trying to find the balance and conditions were tough out there for both of us. I think I was just happy to be able to compete hard every single point basically.’